World Health Organization criticizes travel bans on southern African countries

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Moeti praised South Africa for following worldwide well being rules and informing WHO as quickly as its nationwide laboratory recognized the variant.

“The pace and transparency of the South African and Botswana governments in informing the world of the brand new variant is to be counseled,” stated Moeti. “WHO stands with African international locations which had the braveness to boldly share life-saving public well being info, serving to shield the world towards the unfold of Covid-19.”

Circumstances of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in international locations on reverse sides of the world Sunday and lots of governments rushed to shut their borders at the same time as scientists cautioned that it’s not clear if the brand new variant is extra alarming than different variations of the virus.

Whereas investigations proceed into the Omicron variant, WHO recommends that every one international locations “take a risk-based and scientific method and put in place measures which may restrict its potential unfold.”

Israel determined to bar entry to foreigners, and Morocco stated it could droop all incoming flights for 2 weeks beginning Monday — among the many most drastic of a rising raft of journey curbs being imposed as nations scrambled to gradual the variant’s unfold. Scientists in a number of locations — from Hong Kong to Europe — have confirmed its presence. The Netherlands reported 13 instances on Sunday, and Australia discovered two.

The U.S. plans to ban journey from South Africa and 7 different southern African international locations beginning Monday.

“With the Omicron variant now detected in a number of areas of the world, setting up journey bans that concentrate on Africa assaults international solidarity,” stated Moeti. “Covid-19 continually exploits our divisions. We’ll solely get the higher of the virus if we work collectively for options.”

WHO stated it scaling up its assist for genomic sequencing in Africa so sequencing laboratories have entry to satisfactory human sources and testing reagents to work at full capability. WHO additionally stated is able to provide extra assist, reinforcing Covid-19 responses together with surveillance, therapy, an infection prevention and neighborhood engagement in southern African international locations, it stated.

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